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Start Up Businesses

Website Audits End Marketing Confusion

Website Audits End Marketing Confusion

-> Do you had the sneaking suspicion your website isn't the marketing masterpiece it could be?  You know it needs updating... but do you know what those changes should be?  Besides, you are too busy to have the mental bandwidth to sort it out anyways.

 -> Have you recently created a new website and are wondering if you've missed some critical aspects?  You want it to not only look 'pretty', but also be a powerful marketing tool that consistently sends you new clients.

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Your salon website has one BIG JOB to do: to be a strong lead generator for your business.

What is a 'lead generator' and why do you need one?

Quite simply, Lead Generation is a system that captures a new guests (the leads) attention and compels them (the generator) to either contact you with more questions or have those prospective clients self-select your services and go straight to booking appointments.

So yes...you need to use your website to be a lead generator. This is what marketing is all about...to capture leads.

If your current website isn't doing that, you are working way too hard to get clients calling.

How do you make your website a strong lead generator?

I'm afraid it's not good enough for it to be a pretty online brochure with your contact information on it.  Nope...it should be working much harder than that and still look attractive. The issue for most business owners and website marketing is they don't know what they don't know.  So how could you know?!

Being a salon owner, I can relate to having to wear many hats in our work.  Some of those hats don't fit well (but I still wear), some of which I don't like at all (and refuse to even try it on).

But the reality is, I still have to get it done, regardless of if I'm good at it or not. For example, the items I struggle with (bookkeeping, accounting, website coding), I farm out to trusted and knowledgable experts.  It would take me forever to figure out something like website coding and I would be very cranky while I was at it.

The stuff  I AM good at?  I do for myself and teach others...saving everyone time, money & frustration.  So why don't you hand off what you aren't great at with your website and let me do most of the heavy lifting?

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I have just launched a new service for business owners.  This isn't even posted on my "work with me" page yet...I just wanted to share with you asap!

Re:Freshed Website Audit ($97)

Here's how it works:

1) Upon payment, we schedule a 20 min call to discuss the focus & goals of your business. This is to ensure I am making recommendations that are specific for the aesthetic feel and the business outcomes you want.

2) Before we end this call, I will give you a date when your completed website audit will be ready. The reason I'm able to give this service a such a great price is because I can fit it into my schedule where available.  I promise your audit will be completed within one week.

 3) During your Re:Freshed Website Audit, I will hop on to your website, open up my screen recording software and begin going through your website, page-by-page talking about what could be and should be changed.  You will hear suggestions based on what stimulates excellent lead generation and integrates the focus & outcomes we spoke about.

4) When the audit is complete, it will be rendered to video and you will be sent a private link to watch at your convenience.

5) I pass the reigns over for you to follow up with the advice I've given in the video.  This service is 'done-with-you' (me giving the advice and you following through with the suggestions) to help keep your marketing costs low.  You can watch this video audit as many times as you wish, take notes, get started on a few points...possibly make a plan if some big changes need to happen.

*Bonus*

Two weeks after your video is sent to you, I'm giving you 1 week of email support. If you have any burning questions or issues, this is the time to email me for help and perspectives.  The intention is to keep the momentum of upgrading and fine-tuning your website changes and to help solidify your new-found knowledge of website marketing.

If it turns out you need me to take over your to-do list for your website...that could certainly be an option and we can talk about it.

Your website can be a marketing powerhouse for growing a strong, sustainable business...let's make it happen!

If you are ready to get started, click here to purchase then reply to this email and we'll schedule an intake call.

 

It's Not Enough

It's Not Enough

This week I had a meeting to pitch my passion to a local beauty supply company.  I was invited to discuss what my coaching business was about and what if I could create a series of business courses for their clients.  As I was introducing myself and what my experience has been...I shared with this lovely group that I am as passionate about the salon & spa industry as I was when I was a new esthetics graduate from Blanche MacDonald Institute 2 decades ago. But the truth is, after 20 years of living, breathing and developing in the beauty & wellness industry, I'm actually even more passionate about our profession than ever before. In fact, way more. This industry has so much more to offer than just beauty & business.  It's healing, personal care, creativity and human connection.  It's an intimate connection we know heals the world one appointment at a time.  That is incredibly fulfilling.

But I have some sobering news for you.  Many of the owners of the salon, spa & wellness business are in big trouble.  At best, they're worried about their future because of lack-luster revenues and long hours, but most times they feel flat out hopeless as to how at to turn their business around because it's such a mess. Here's a few comments I hear ALL the time from seasoned entrepreneurs:

"I love what I do, I work extremely hard, and the schedule is fairly busy...but there's not money left at the end of the month.  I'm exhausted.  I'm frustrated.  I don't know how to change it and I feel stuck."

"I've tried so many different ways to market my business.  But nothing seems to work consistently.  I'm tired of putting energy into something that I can't make work but I need more clients.  I'm frustrated & I don't know what information to trust."

This is painful stuff!  For those of you dreaming of opening your own business this should be the knock on the head you need to get real about being an entrepreneur.  If you are already a business owner, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

The point I want to make here is that all of the entrepreneurs who are in that situation are missing a huge piece of their puzzle: opening your business with only your skill-set IS NOT ENOUGH.  And if you want to have any financial success with sharing your hands-on gift...it will NEVER be enough unless you do what's required.

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In December 2013, skininc.com posted the Top 10 Professional Skin Care Industry Trends for 2014.  And although this article was written for spa professionals, it absolutely applies to salon & wellness owners as well.  So what, to my delight, is their #2 trend for 2014?

Business is back.

With the improvement of the economy in general and the spa industry specifically, those skin care professionals who have survived the Great Recession learned a few lessons along the way ... namely, you can’t run a business without knowing about business. These days, crossing your fingers and hoping everything will work out just doesn’t cut it.  - Cathy Christensen, Skin Inc., Dec 2013

Now, I'm acutely aware that if you were remotely interested in business you would have spent your $15,000-$25,000 tuition towards B-School rather than your chosen trade institute.  But the reality is that if you don't educate yourself in The Business of your industry you will never be successful.  You will work too hard, for too little money and feel frustrated and hopeless by the end of it.

I come to this table with painful & relatable experience.  In 2002, I had been a spa owner for 5 years was recently married and with a newborn.  It was after I had my son that I realized I was in real trouble with my business: the numbers were in the red, I wan't able to pay myself, I was scrapping together payroll every 2 weeks and my staff were driving me nuts with their own agendas.  I had bootstrapped the opening of my spa and was seriously strapped for cash and time...and with the birth of my son it became glaringly obvious I didn't have the time or knowledge to take my business any farther.  But quite frankly what I came to terms with was that I wanted to sell my business so that I could focus on being a mom...but the business I had so painstakingly & passionately built was worthless.

My son Mathew at 5 days old.
My son Mathew at 5 days old.

It was being faced with this very stressful dilemma that finally forced me into action.  I found a company in the States, which at the time may have been one of the only companies in North America that was teaching the business skills specific to the salon/spa industry, and signed up for their next business class.  Thousands of dollars for the seminar + flights and accommodation to Arizona later,  I was neck deep in learning The Business of my business.

As I plugged in my own numbers during the course I was equally shocked and excited at what I was learning: cash flow forecasting, where my client retention, retail percentages and productivity were at (btw...my numbers were dismal) and how to control my company culture with very little stress.  After 4 days of intense business training, I walked out of that course with was a strong understanding and a complete list of strategies & systems to turn my spa around.

Fast-forward one year.  I sold my spa for a profit and was able to focus my attention to my son and work part-time at a beautiful facility until I moved to Vancouver Island a year later.  I felt an incredible sense of freedom.  I'm not going to tell you that turning my business around was easy, because it wasn't.  I worked extremely hard on applying systems to increase the spa productivity, retail sales, service revenues plus decrease my payroll expenses and staffing issues. But when I committed to putting in the time into create these strategic business systems, it opened up a whole reservoir of energy & passion for the salon/spa industry I thought I had lost.  In fact, after I moved to Vancouver Island, I opened up another esthetics business and have been operating as re:fresh skin and body for 7 years now.

But more than anything...learning about The Business of the salon/spa industry gave me the confidence and ease to move through the growth process much quicker than if I had continued on my original 'blind' path.

So my advice to you?  Save your self now.  Regardless of your position (a new start-up or existing business owner), it is THE time to take control of your dream. Your hands-on skills will never be enough to run a successful shop.  Business is simply another skill-set you must learn.

The beauty of your situation is that you don't have to enroll in B-School to get what you need (hey...I have no idea how I passed Math 11 or 12 in high school), but you do need to actively seek sound business training that is specific to your industry.

The truth is, I don't want you to simply make more money....I want you to make it efficiently, strategically and with joy.

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If you are an aspiring Start-Up Entrepreneur you'll want to check out this online video tutorial course I created that will give you all the golden business nuggets I've learned along the way in order to fast-track your business.

If you are an existing business owner and you're wondering where all your money is going, how to increase your revenues, what to do with wayward staff and find the passion for your industry again, you'll want to go here to find the best option for you.

You don't have to re-invent the wheel here folks.  Just ask me how I did it...I'll gladly share what I know and how it works.

Quit Poking My Goose!

I pride myself on being able to handle shit.

You know...when days/weeks/months get a little manic and the only way through it is...well, through it.

I’m a planner, an organizer, a do-er.  I’ve always been asked: How do you do it all?  Have a family, run a successful esthetics business...and now building a coaching business for the beauty & wellness industry?  Isn’t it too much?

My honest answer was: Sometimes...but I truely love what I do...it gives me energy.  And for months and months I have felt productive and excited to be moving everything forward.  I've been working a lot over the past year... keeping a beautiful vision in mind.

But just when I think I’ve got it handled...I get a *smack* in the face with a 2x4.  It’s only mission is to remind me that I’ve foolishly piled on too much.

Wa??  Moi?  No way.

Yes way.

And so…I spent this weekend unable to even think about any of my businesses and worst of all, I felt disconnected from my personal life and family.

Seriously…I couldn’t even think on Sunday.  I didn't even clue in that I was burnt-out.  That’s how tired I was.

 All I could think about is this: I need to replenish.  I'm so tired.  I need to take care of myself.  I’ve got an empty tank. I need to fill up. I need to feel better.

But at the time I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even think of anything to do to make me feel better.  So I read a bit of my novel.  I slept.  I walked to the beach.

It was at the beach I remembered  Midas Camp last month, and Andrea J Lee spoke of the Aesop’s Fable of The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg.  She shared with us that we need to remember this little story for ourselves.

I am the goose that lays the golden egg and if I don’t incorporate self-care as a way to replenish myself...there will be no more golden eggs have.

Huh. Right. I forgot about that part of Midas Camp.

So apparently I needed a little dose of ‘life lesson’ to steer me back on my track of my personal & business visions.

The lesson for me?  Give some.  Give some. Receive some.  Foolishly, I gave to everyone else except myself for a while.

I was poking my poor goose constantly and wondering why I felt frustrated at how much work I had to do and resentful that I was last on my list for accomplishing anything.

What I forgot was that is was only up to me to manage my Golden Goose.  Yes, I was caught up in a good old fashioned pity-party last week.  So caught up, in fact, that I shifted into burn-out pretty dang quick. Silly me.

The lesson for me is this:  I can’t wait for anyone else to ‘give some’ back to me.  I do this to myself. I know I take on a lot and that can be ok IF I’m taking care of my Goose at the same time.  I need to book some time for myself.  A massage, lunch with my mom, an hour reading anything that isn’t business related, a nap.

Yup...I can do that.

Now...there was also another little nugget of wisdom from Andrea that plays into my burn-out weekend.

We all want the pearls of life.  We work really hard to see that pearl emerge.  However, much of life can be gritty, dirty, messy and complicated.  Yes?

Well...pearls are made from grit.  A tiny little speck of grit will produce a precious, beautiful pearl.  And the bigger the grit, the bigger the pearl.

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I ’m pretty sure I feel a pearl forming from this weekend.

Today I met my love at the beach on his lunch break and we had a lovely picnic and chat while the wind blew in our faces and the sun warmed our skin.  I felt relaxed.  My Goose said 'thank-you'.

I also have a Psych-K session booked for tomorrow with my friend Darcie in another step to taking care of my Golden Goose.

And even though my emotional state totally sucked this weekend, thanks for the lesson, dear life.  It was much needed and appreciated!

So…have you experienced burn-out?  How have you handled your come back?  And what do you do for yourself now to take care of your Goose?  Leave your comments below.  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

 

 

 

Go & Tell

So...you’ve got your skill. You’ve got your business idea. Now what?

Time to ‘OUT’ your business!

Yup. You’re in the ‘scary, exciting, omg-am-I-really-doing-this-buisness-thing, woo-hoo!’ phase.  Congrats! It’s a whole new, thrilling world you are about to enter!

But don’t be scared...I’m going to give you a HUGE tip to get started:

The most fastest, most cost effective way to ‘out’ your business is to create a Facebook Fan page.

Why?

#1 - It’s FREE!

#2 - YOU CONTROL ALL YOUR CONTENT. This is as opposed to a traditional website. With a Facebook Fan Page you’re not dependent on the time & money it takes for your web designer to make changes.

#3 - It has an incredible capacity to REACH ALL YOUR FRIENDS, your friends friends, and so on & so on. Think about that. That’s thousands of people!

#4 - Sharing your content happens INSTANTLY.

#5 - You have the ability to intertwine your personal life with your business life. This is a fairly new concept in business, one that the Big Businesses are having trouble with because they are so huge! Interestingly, these guys have been experimenting with their Facebook pages in an attempt to create a more personal feel. Here’s your leg-up on the Big Boys...you’re already a small business and your customers will trust you more if you are willing to share some of your life outside of business. The truth is when your prospects start feeling they know you, IT BOOSTS YOUR 'KNOW, LIKE & TRUST' FACTOR...and it’s much easier for you to convert them to new customer status!

#6 - You can create INEXPENSIVE ADS THAT ARE HIGHLY TARGETED. Facebook literally walks you through creating ads for your business and allows you to cap how much you want to spend.

#7 - You can CREATE EMAIL CAPTURES TO GROW YOUR LIST (note: the bigger your list, the more growing capabilities for your biz) through apps like Shortstack.

But does creating or updating a Facebook Fan Page feel overwhelming to you?

I must introduce you to Lunabean Media. This lovely couple from Oregon have created a series of bite-sized video tutorials that take you from knowing nothing about Facebook all the way to creating slick-looking contests and ad campaigns.

The class you want is called DIY Web Marketing.

If you already have some experience with Facebook you can simply jump in at the level you’re at! I highly recommend this series.

What about a website, you say?

You gotta do that too. But first…create your Facebook page because it's hands-down the quickest, most cost effective method to get yourself 'out there'.

When Dreams Are Too Big

Big Dreams

 You have big dreams to open your own business. You love daydreaming about it: the happiness it will bring into your life and what abundance will come with it.

In fact, it’s one of your better daydreams that keeps you occupied during your lack-lustre job.

But that, my friends, is where the entrepreneurial dream ends for most people.

Why?  The dream feels too big!

It feels too far away and you simply can’t fathom how to get from here to there.

How can you move from boredom/unhappiness to freedom?  How do you transition from a day job that pays the bills to the joyfulness of being your own boss, doing what you love and that pays more than just the bills?

You've been looking at the logistics of what you think you need to get there (business plan, money, marketing, staffing) and you come to a screeching halt at the sheer pile of your ‘to-do’ list.

Enter stage left: overwhelm. You decide to put your idea on the ‘Maybe Later’ shelf.

Wait! Don’t put it on that shelf!  Deep down you know you’ll never get to it if you leave it there to collect dust.

I have a present for you: a simple mind shift that will help you clearly see the steps to your dream job.

Break the big dream down.

Crumble the dream into simple, bite-sized bits intended to teach you what you need to know for the final feast.

For example: Let’s say I’m an avid dog person with a 9-5 job as a Legal Assistant. My day job has been paying the bills and affords me my yearly tropical vacation. But the reality is I am so done with being a Legal Assistant but I can’t see a way to transition into what I really want to do: to open a Doggie Daycare. The thought of being with dogs all day (walks at the beach or park, snuggles with the pooches & maybe some grooming) lifts my spirits to amazing heights. I really want that life but I need the income from my current day job. How do I start the transition?

Here's the details:

 5 Bite-Sized Bits For You Start the Transition

I recommend you take one at a time (but in no particular order) so you don’t get overwhelmed and stop altogether. Just keep moving...just keep moving...

#1 - Educate yourself with introductory classes. In relation to the example above I would recommend taking some sort of simple, part-time class in the canine field (dog training, introduction to grooming, dog behavior). It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive course for this step...just something to get you focused on what you really want to be doing.

#2 - Start your own little part-time micro-business in your desired field. You may not have the money or savvy business knowledge required to open a bigger biz but you can start small to get your feet wet. With the doggie daycare example, I could start putting the word out to friends & family that I will dog sit your pooch in my home when they’re away on holidays. I would decide on what I would charge, order some business cards from www.vistaprint.com and voila! I’m in business working towards my dream. It doesn't have to be complicated! The goal with this step is to begin creating a reputation in your field.

#3 - Absorb your desired industry. Find interesting websites & bloggers to read (create a special bookmark folder to save for later inspiration) and follow other entrepreneurs in your field on Facebook, twitter & LinkedIn. There has never been an easier time to connect with exactly the people you want to learn from! Join a free networking group in your area (www.meetup.com) of like-minded people or create one yourself. The idea here is to immerse yourself in the energy of your industry and start getting comfortable with moving around in it.

#4 - Connect with business owners that are farther along the path than you. Request to meet for coffee to ask them about their industry: what you should expect for wages, what they see as the future for the industry and what they would recommend you do to get yourself there.

When I owned my spa I occasionally had women do just this. These young ladies were looking to get into the spa industry and before they committed to the esthetics program (which is $12,000), they wanted to be sure they knew what they were getting themselves into after graduation. I was a seasoned esthetician & spa owner and I loved to share my recommendations with them. I felt that if they had enough confidence to request a meeting with someone they didn’t know in order for them to make the right decision for their career, I was more than willing to give them my time & thoughts. I continued to mentor some of these women and felt my heart swell with happiness with their success. You may be surprised by who wants to help you!

#5 - You + Learning = Amazing You. Keep your eyes out for more classes or workshops for yourself. Don’t limit yourself to business or dog courses...look at personal development training as well. The better you know yourself the more clear your business path will be. Consider these courses as part of your training program for your Business Dream.

All of these steps can be done while you still have your full-time job that’s paying the bills. Working towards you business dream will take time and energy within your personal time, but a funny thing happens: you find yourself excited by this prep work and it doesn’t feel like ‘work’...it feels like FUN!

You wake up on your days off early, refreshed and thinking about what you can do today that will move you in the direction you want to be. Happy. Content. Fulfilled.

For more information on how to transition your current soul-sapped career to the energy-filling job you desire contact me here.

Download your free e-workbook to get yourself started on transitioning out of the daily grind!